Plant Game (Sept 27, 2017) Answers

Thanks to everyone who played this week’s plant game.  Here are the answers:

First, the photo didn’t get many guesses, but Ally got it right.  It is rough rattlesnakeroot, aka rough white lettuce, aka Prenanthes aspera.  Sorry Mike, your iNaturalist app failed this test…

In terms of guessing which plant name was fake, 181 people attempted the first question, and only 24% of you correctly guessed that the fake name was duckbill hairycress.  Spider antelope horns got the most votes (35%) but is the real name (at least one of them) for a kind of milkweed.

On the second question, 145 people guessed, but only 21% picked the actual fake name, which was silky sunwort.  Curve-pod fumewort, believe it or not, is a real live plant.

I hope some of you got a chuckle out of the third question.  Bela Lugosi is actually the name of a very famous actor (from a long time ago, granted) and is not a plant.  56% of you knew that, but about a quarter of you went with Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, which certainly does sound like a fake plant, but is real.

The game works because no matter how hard I try, I can’t usually come up with plant names that are more outlandish than the real ones…  Thanks for playing.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
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4 Responses to Plant Game (Sept 27, 2017) Answers

  1. Well, I got this correct (but didn’t submit my designation).

    We have a rare, very eastern population of Prenanthes aspera here at the NASA Plum Brook Station, in N Ohio, where I’m restoring 3000 acres of easternmost landscape-scale prairie in the US, the Firelands Prairie of N Ohio. Before I discovered our population, the sp. was thought to be extirpated from Ohio, save for one or two tiny populations on dry S Ohio hillsides. This is the only known population from Ohio’s fertile, moist Lake Plain (N Ohio).

    The species re-appeared after we conducted prairie burns.

    Glad to have this sp. with us, here where moisture is always present (even in our “droughts”).

  2. emcinturf says:

    Actually, Bela Lugosi IS the name of a plant! Not a native plant, to be sure, but it’s a cultivar of day lily, Hemerocallis. It’s dark purple, sometimes almost black, with a green throat. I don’t know who developed it, but it wasn’t registered until 1995. So double chuckles on that one.

    • Chris Helzer says:

      That’s funny! I had no idea. I tried to think of a name that would be so completely off-the-wall that no one would think it was really a Nebraska plant…I figured there would be some generational issues with people not knowing the name, but never thought it might actually be a plant name! Thanks for letting me know.

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